Yesterday after work, I had attempted to go for a bit of time to our company’s annual picnic, even though it was a blazing day and I wanted nothing to do with being outside if I could help it for most of the day. As it happened, I was entirely unable to find parking or the location of the various game events, and not wishing to continue baking in my car, I decided to find a quiet place to read , and managed to finish a book by the time it was time to head over to my friend’s house for dinner . Of particular interest, although not any particular surprise, I suppose, I managed to read a book during the time I spent waiting for dinner , which is a far more enjoyable way to spend one’s time waiting than to be sitting in traffic behind farm equipment, as I did on US-26 on my way back from the Hillsboro Stadium debacle.
I am often intrigued by the way that dinner parties tend to have themes, often without any sort of intention on my part, and it was pretty plain and obvious fairly early on what sort of theme this dinner had, one that amused me almost in spite of myself. The makeup of the dinner party was somewhat interesting–the host’s wife had gone with a niece to Reno and so my host was being a temporary bachelor. Likely with a profound sense of irony, whether intentional or not, he happened to invite me as well as the first person I met in the area when I moved in, who happens to be a divorced gentleman, and so we had three different types of bachelors among the three of us–married but having a weekend alone, formerly married and no longer so, and never married–all enjoying a wonderful dinner. When I was not reading before dinner, I was enjoying how our host shared with the other guest an excerpt of Garrison Keilor’s A Prairie Home Companion shows, in this case an extended riff on the joys of rhubarb pie. Our host, of course, joked about the mock advertisements about products made by bachelor Norwegian farmers, something I can relate to far more than I ought to be able to.
As I mentioned before, dinner was excellent. Our host had asked someone behind my back what items I enjoyed eating the most, because I am known to be a somewhat picky eater, although I try not to bother anyone else about it. As it was, there was a great deal of food to enjoy–corn on the cob, roasted chicken with rice and veggies, mixed vegetables, a German potato salad I did not try, and I had a root beer float for dessert while the other guest enjoyed a somewhat flat German yeast fig cake. Although it was just the three of us there, we enjoyed a fine dinner, enjoyable conversation about vagabondish ways and the joys of family experiences at the Feast of Tabernacles, and we even played a new game that I liked better than the scripture card guessing game we usually do, and that was a ten-minute period for each of us to discuss a particular Bible verse/passage and answer questions from the others, which ended up being very thoughtful and possibly the subject of future blog entries/sermonettes. More on that later, perhaps.
After we ate, the evening was not quite done. We watched some excerpts of Heimat, a German-language epic family soap opera that our host had on old VHS tapes, which shows admirable attention to detail as well as the creation of an extremely complicated family, with plenty of tragic moments, including two long-separated lovers who meet in the Battle of Berlin, only for the young man to die as his lover encourages him to wait for the doctor, and for her to be shot to pieces as she leaves his dead body, and featuring a WWI veteran who leaves his family in the grips of PTSD. It is not the sort of account that in any way minimizes the horrors Germans have faced during the 20th century, most of it admittedly self-inflicted. We chatted about the struggles of my host’s parents’ marriage, saw some family photos, and I picked up a book to borrow on the journals of Lewis & Clark to add to my Oregon reading collection. All in all, it was an immensely successful evening.
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